The Photo Hunt | London, England

31 March 2014

A few weeks back I took a day trip to London for my first blogger event. 
The Photo Hunt, set up by Bobbi, Che, and Lulu, is a photo scavenger hunt, allowing bloggers to meet and socialize in a fun environment. 

We were split up into groups of 4 or 5 and given two hours to complete our lists. 
One list contained riddles or phrases relating to a site. Once figuring it out, we would then go to that location, find the Photo Hunt sticker, and write down the letter. Once the list was completed, we unscrambled the letters to complete a phrase. The second list was a creative list. These task were mostly silly/fun things, which added points to our overall score. 

Overall, I had a blast. The Photo Hunt was a great way to meet other like-minded people in a fun setting!

Me, Jessi, Nicole, Laura, and Charlotte


Isn't Laura's dog just the cutest? 

Happy Monday!

The Time(s) I Met The Wanted

29 March 2014

I have thought about writing this post before, but decided against it as it is an extremely long story. It's been requested here and there, but it wasn't until I saw The Wanted live again last night that I realized how much of an influence their music was on me and my move abroad.

This is an extremely long post. Over the past 3 years I have been to 4 concerts, interacted with the band 3 times, and been backstage twice. So if you aren't into The Wanted or just don't like wordy post, read no further. My regular formatted posts will be back on Monday! 

It's no secret I'm a fangirl.
Always have, always will be. 
My boyband obsession began with N*Sync.
Then the Jonas Brothers.
Then McFly.
 Then in 2011 I first heard The Wanted. I was living in London that summer, and all anyone could talk about was The Wanted.
I was at the final Harry Potter movie premiere in Trafalgar Square when a group of guys surrounded by security walked right past. A girl next to me screamed her little heart out, and when she finally stopped I asked her who they were.
"The Wanted!" She said excitedly. 
"Oh, that band that sings Glad You Came?" Was my response. 
Glad You Came was the only song I had heard by them seeing as it had just been released as their single in the UK. When I moved back to Texas later that summer, I began listening to them more.


Fast forward six months. 
It was January 2012 and The Wanted were playing their first Texas show ever. 
I drove six hours to see them in a tiny bar in Dallas. 
I was in my "reverse culture shock" phase, and all I wanted to do was see a band that reminded me of England.
The show was intimate, only about 100 people. No one really knew them in the states, as they hadn't even been played on the radio in the US at that point. 
I took my cousin, Rachel, who has a lot of personality. She managed to get us right next to the sound booth and the bouncer on the side of the stage, where we watched the entire show. At some point the bouncer turned his head, letting us stand backstage to watch.
The show was amazing, and because it was so small, the guys were actually able to interact with the audience. 
Click here for a video of that show. 

Afterwards, my cousin and I chilled outside their tour bus. We weren't the only ones there, so we knew chances of them actually stopping to say hi were slim. When they finally came out they went straight to their bus. But as Jay walked by he did a double take of me and my cousin, took a few steps back, and asked 
"How are you doing tonight?"
Me being completely starstruck answered in a high pitched voice "I'm fantastic!"
*face palm*
I knew right then and there I would have to redeem myself one day.


Two months later I tweeted Jay saying how excited I was that they were coming back to the states. I don't remember exactly what I tweeted but this was his response.

Followed by this. 

Shortly after I was also followed by the band's Twitter account. 

A few months later, it was June 2012.
I bought tickets to see The Wanted at Six Flags. By then Glad You Came had made it's radio debut in the US so the show was much bigger.
I coerced my friend Leah into helping me win backstage passes over the radio. She lived in Mississippi, and was on a road trip from Mississippi to Florida. She didn't have access to the radio station that was doing the contest, but I gave her the number to call and the time to do it.
After about 15 minutes of me trying to get through to the radio station, I had no luck. So I gave up and turned up the radio to see who won.
To my surprise I heard Leah's voice. She had won. 
She was unable to attend the actual show, so I invited my cousin and two of my roommates. 
My cousin and I were the first ones backstage, and to my surprise we were greeted with kisses and huge hugs. 

(This was my blonde phase)

Nathan barely made the show that day due to a delayed flight, so wasn't backstage while me and my cousin were. But the other guys were absolutely amazing.


It was almost a year before I saw them again. 
I flew to Houston (I lived in Lubbock at this time) for their 2013 Cinco de Mayo show with Carley Rae Jepsen.
A little birdy had informed me when they would be at the airport.
So naturally I stuck around. 
To my surprise, Jay actually recognized me. 
"Sara, right?"
I pretty much died right there.
We all chilled outside the airport for about 30 minutes with a few other fans.
Jay and Siva were being swarmed by the girls who were there, so Tom, Max, and I chilled outside their van talking about how freaking hot Houston was. 
Max proceeded to lick my head.
Nathan just had his surgery so was unable to attend, but once again I was impressed at how down to earth the rest of the guys were. 


And finally, the last tour.
The Wanted announced they were "taking a break" after the tour.
So my friend and I traveled from Bristol to Cardiff to see one of their last shows. 
It was her first show, my fourth, and it was AMAZING.

Music has always been a big part of my life, and I credit these guys for giving me the strength to move abroad. I know it sounds silly, but sometimes you need someone to tell you to be strong. Someone to tell you you're special.
Seeing The Wanted's success over the past three years made me realize anyone can be successful in what they do. Being raised in a culture where the biggest success in life is to get married and have babies, I realized there was more to the world. I went from being a girl with no career aspirations to a girl who wants to pave her own way.
I moved to England for many reasons, but one of the biggest reasons was to become successful. I felt I couldn't be the girl I wanted to be back home.

So there you have it!
It's been a long ride filled with some of my best memories.

Happy Saturday!

Thoughts From Abroad | Part 24

28 March 2014

1) This week's Thoughts From Abroad post is rather short mainly because I have been buried in school work. I've been feeling really studious and inspired this week, and it's actually crazy how much stuff I've gotten done! It's still the early stage of my dissertation process, but it's starting to form itself into a well thought out plan!

2) It's hailed about 3 times this week. So much for spring.

3) I've gotten my boyfriend hooked on American Horror Story! Finally, someone to watch it with me! We're almost done with Season 2.

4) I finished 'The White Princess' by Philippa Gregory in less than two days! I personally think it's her best novel yet. But that may be my bias towards Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. They are, after all, who I am writing my dissertation on.

5) I'm seeing The Wanted in Cardiff tonight with Emily! This is going to be my fourth time seeing them live! Crazy, right? I first met them two years ago and they are seriously the most down to earth guys ever.

No matter how cold it is, there's always time for ice cream. 

Happy Friday!

Daily Diaries with Diaries of an Essex Girl

The Birdcage | Bristol, England

26 March 2014

There is nothing I take more seriously than a good brunch.

A few weeks ago Bobbi introduced me to The Birdcage, a cafe/vintage shop/music venue. Yes, I know that sounds weird, but the thing is... it works
As a brunch entusiast, I appreciate a place that offers a unique atmosphere while still providing amazing food. I decided to take Leah here on her visit to England, seeing as she loves a good brunch just as much as I do. We ended up spending two hours just sitting, enjoying our coffee, and taking advantage of the free wifi. 

Monday - Tuesday: 8am - 10pm
Wednesday - Saturday: 8am - 11pm
Sunday: 10am - 6pm

Happy Wednesday!


24 March 2014

A few scenes from Spring in Bristol.
Hope everyone is enjoying the sun!

Happy Spring!

Bath Abbey | Bath, England

22 March 2014

As a history major, I am fascinated by the churches in this country. I have been to my fair share of cathedrals, but never an abbey.
Leah and I went to Bath on possibly the coldest day in March. It was unfortunate timing, but despite our frozen feet, we did manage to fit in a little visit to Bath Abbey!

The original abbey dates back to the 7th century. Over the years it was rebuilt, left in ruin, and then restored in 1860. 

What are some other amazing churches I should put on my travel list??

Happy Saturday!

Thoughts From Abroad | Part 23

21 March 2014

Can you believe it has only rained ONCE in the last two weeks! 

2) I kind of blew off St. Patrick's Day this year. Since moving abroad my excitement for holidays has only increased, but for some reason I was just not into St. Patrick's Day. At least I didn't get pinched for not wearing green, that must be an American thing.

3) The setting for the next season of American Horror Story is going to be a 1950s circus! Omg, I seriously can't wait! 

4) I think it might be time to upgrade my UK phone. There's only so much a girl can take of a non-smart phone.

5) The amount of google accounts I have accumulated over the years is ridiculous. I think I have 4 or 5 and nothings more annoying than when your computer doesn't recognize the one you want it to automatically login to. 

6) I'm notorious for having knee problems. I don't know what I did to set it off, but my left knee has been kind of useless the past few days. 

7) Currently reading: 4 books on the Black Death, 3 on medieval afterlife, and 2 on Henry VII. Life of a history masters student...

8) I've come to the realization that I can no longer drink Starbucks. I'm too spoiled with Bristol's amazing coffee scene that Starbucks just isn't all that great anymore. 

9) When is Eurovision?? My friends keep on explaining it to me and I feel I HAVE to watch it this year.

10) I've finally caught up with The Walking Dead! Y'all... That last episode was cray. Like "made me an emotional wreck" cray.

Happy Friday!

Meet Katie!

Katie Walpole hails from upstate New York in the USA. She's currently living in the UK while she attends graduate school at the London School of Economics. An avid traveler, Katie has traveled to over 25 countries and has set foot on three continents! Katie can often be found eating a macaroon, drinking a latte, and updating her blog! 

Spicer + Cole | Bristol, England

19 March 2014

Just up the road in Clifton Village is a tiny cafe with a lot of character.
Leah and I stumbled upon it by accident. We were craving an afternoon tea, but seeing as it was 4:30pm, most cafes had already closed.
We walked by Spicer + Cole and noticed they were open.
The rest is history.

Leah's signature look. 

During Leah's week long visit to England, we spent 3 afternoons sitting in Spicer + Cole.
The atmosphere was great and the wi-fi was even better.
When looking them up online I realized there is one slightly closer to my neck of Bristol. New study space? I'm thinking yes.

Spicer + Cole

Happy Wednesday!